MANILA − After being lambasted by RH Bill supporters, some of the Catholic bishops sent a powerful message reproving their critics regarding the much debated reproductive health (RH) bill.
The bishops’ message: “Do not underestimate us.”
Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad reiterated that the Church upholds the tenets of Catholic teaching- especially the sanctity of life- and that they, as messengers of God’s words, are determined to “derail” and “reject” the passage of the bill “even if it means pushing for a Catholic vote.”
“If it’s about the doctrine of the Church then we have to stand by it,” said Bishop Jumoad.
The Church consider the birth control measure as a serious issue to be dealt with and they are willing and ready to campaign against the politicians who are in favor of the said bill.
“If the bishops are really determined to campaign against those who are pro-RH bill, I think we can come up with a Catholic vote,” Jumoad added.
Joining Jumoad are Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, and Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes. Bishop Gutierrez affirmed that efforts in his diocese to campaign against pro-RH bill bets are underway. Meanwhile Bishop Bastes eyes an intensified education campaign for the voters’ bringing not only the issue on RH bill but also corruption and other issues.
“Myth today, reality tomorrow”
“What they think of a myth today may be a reality tomorrow,” said another bishop, Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles. This is in response to the demystifying of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago of the “Catholic vote”.
Santiago underplayed the so called “Catholic vote” saying it is nothing but a “political myth”. In justifying her demystification, the senator alluded to the case of former Sen. Juan Flavier.
“In the past, the Catholic church campaigned against Sen. Juan Flavier because as health secretary, he freely distributed condoms. But Flavier won the elections. Thus, the so-called Catholic vote is a political myth,” Santiago said.
Santiago even warned the Catholic Church bishops and priests on Monday to avoid campaigning against or pro certain politicians just on the stance of supporting or not of the RH Bill because it “constitutes borderline violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.”
The Palace reportedly agreed with Santiago.
Archbishop Ramon Arguelles however said whether there is a Catholic vote or not, they “will intensify their campaign against the bill, as well as its proponents and supporters.”
“We are trying to encourage the good Catholics and there already those who are responding to our call,” Arguelles said.